Insider Mel Edwards to fill Mark Read’s shoes at Wunderman

Mel Edwards, currently CEO EMEA of Wuderman has been chosen to fill Mark Read’s shoes at Wunderman as global CEO. Read was recently promoted to WPP CEO, succeeding the departed Sir Martin Sorrell.

Edwards (below) joined Wunderman six years ago from M&C Saatchi’s Lida and played a key role in the revival of the once direct marketing agency and its rebirth as WPP’s biggest digital agency under Read. Wunderman, which employs 9,200 people in 200 offices across 70 markets is the only holding company digital agency of the same scale as Accenture Interactive and others owned by the big consultancies.

Read says: “Mel is an exceptional leader who demonstrated her ability to build the business by winning new clients and developing existing ones, attracting top talent and integrating technology into our offer. The agency has become a powerhouse in Europe and I have every confidence that it will continue its success globally with her leadership of an outstanding team around the world.”

Edwards says: “I’ve been honoured to call Wunderman my home for the past six years. It’s a place that empowers people to do their best work and attracts today’s brightest talent. I’m proud to accept this new responsibility as global CEO and I’m excited to work with the people of Wunderman to drive the agency forward – combining our creative, data and technology capabilities to deliver the best work and results for our clients.”

Wunderman played a key role in the recent Shell ‘Agency of the Future’ pitch which went mostly to WPP and is WPP’s lead agency in a number of other big pitches. It recently launched Wunderman Inside to provide on-site teams for clients.

WPP now has two women in charge of two of its big networks, Edwards and Tamara Ingram at JWT.

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One comment

  1. There remains much to be said on this.

    Wunderman has long been a subsidiary of Y&R, reporting up through that chain even though W is described as one of the big brand names. It’s only “growth” under Mark Read was the revenue associated with Possible, which was tucked into Wunderman (when Shane didn’t get his big carrot and hurriedly left). W has not a single large new business win. All of the Shell, Coke, etc work that gets referenced came before he was involved. Same with Mel Edwards, who is a sharp lady, but has a very limited personal network and has delivered no significant revenue – which is the only thing that has ever counted at WPP. However, she provides Mark a convenient diversity win, and is far, FAR more loyal to Mark than any of the W-USA leadership (who actually control all of the significant revenues). Odds are Mel will clean out a few weaklings, but the real indicator for change will be the CFO suite. Those guys are a source of negativity, manipulated p&ls, and cover for earn-outs – a triple threat hang-over from the acquisition growth days of Daniel Morel and David Sable.

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